La Fundación Canaria para el Desarrollo de la Pintura (FCDP) presents the first exhibition of the artist Álvaro Barrios (Barranquilla, 1945) in the Canary Islands. The work of the Colombian artist, recognized today as seminal in the development of Latin American conceptual art, is in turn a journey through different expressions and traditional techniques of modern art -such as drawing, painting and engraving-, placed at the service of the contemporary finds.
His emblematic series entitled “Dreams with Marcel Duchamp” is a fortunate symbiosis between what was raised by the European avant-gardes of the last century and the exuberant Latin American fantasy. These “Dreams” are based on short texts created by Barrios since 1980, and account for an enormous flow of ideas unparalleled in Colombian art, unexpectedly linked with surrealism, Pop, Pre-Raphaelism, philosophy, literature, Conceptualism and the esoteric, among other practices of the intellect.
The continuous surprises of Álvaro Barrios’ work are expressed in this exhibition through large-format paintings formally derived from comics, as inspiration from his childhood and adolescence. This group of works corresponds to conceptualist strategies illustrated by means of traditional two-dimensional painting. Beyond the obvious reference to pop culture, this type of work of his, in multiple cases, generates an intersection between chronologies of art history and sacred passages, as in the case of the work “The Multiplication of paintings” . In this exhibition, each dream becomes a fantasy that gives rise to explore other possible worlds. This is how the universe of paintings of the “Sueños Ilustrados” is established as paths of pictorial exteriorization of the dream field of Barrios’ work. Perhaps they are expanded drawings or exercises of a medium that interconnects the History of Art with a very personal poetic sensibility about life and dreams.
Similarly, two paintings are present here that allude to another of the artist’s recurring interests: his critique of the ecosystem of the art world. The author, then, transports us for a brief moment to the earthly dynamics that go through the art market, collecting and curating.
At the same time, integrating a subtextual critical game on the “new languages” of the visual arts, the artist presents two recent creations in NFT format. These works expand the dimension of the fantastic framework that he presents in the exhibition. They are pieces that suggest a much more precise approach to the oneiric condition of the “Sueños Ilustrados”.
Most likely, these works are hypnotic allegorical clues – solemn and with a sense of humor – of what the world inhabited by Álvaro Barrios could be every time he enters the “sacred moment of creation.”
Elías Doria, curator